The village community system was transformed into a customary family system which means it is owned by the families but the portions were still retained for the community for common use. This land is known as village common land and is locally called ‘Shamilat Deh’. It is not one patch of land but consists of several chunks and has been classified in many land areas. Among them, the first one is the place in a village where cattle are gathered before going to the pasture which is called ‘Gora Deh’. Another is ‘Abadi Deh’ which means the chunks of land on which houses or mosques, temples or gurudwaras are constructed.
Shamilat Deh is those chunks of land which are used for grazing of cattle and the propriety holders cut grass. This includes banjar land of the village.
Landholders in a village are entitled to get a share of the ‘Shamilat’ land as per the ratio of their holdings which means they have proprietary rights in Shamilat land in proportion to the size of their holdings.
In 1926, Maharaja of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir issued a Boon No.4 published in Government Gazette on 14th Phagan 1982 corresponding to March 1926 whereunder the state land was ordered to be bestowed upon the village community. This land was henceforth ordered to be called ‘Shamilat Deh’ and the villagers concerned were awarded jointly the same rights therein which they possess in their individual holdings. It was ordered that the landholder in a particular village would be entitled to have a share in the land that was declared as ‘Shamilat Deh’.
By Ailan No.4 in 1927, a rule was passed to regulate the mutation of the ‘Shamilat Deh’ land in the Jammu division. Clause 5 of the rule provided that Shamilat entries made under this rule shall be recorded in the form of ‘Shamilat Malikan Deh’ and it should be mentioned in the tenancy columns of Jamabandi.and the same Ailan was announced in 1927 for the Kashmir division.
Shamilat land has Section 4 and Section 5 and among them, the first is meant for common use by the people of any particular village and the latter is property land and tax in the form of Malia was leveled on this land. Any landholder that has Shamilat land with Section 5 under his possession can sell this land to another person and a proper sale is done on this type of land while Section 4 Shamilat land means grazing land or land meant for common purposes.
But many officers and officials in the revenue department are not in a position to decide on which part is Section 4 and which is Section 5. When they come across such cases, the situation arises when any survey number is for instance 355 kanals and among these, 196 kanals are Section 5 and the remaining part is Section 4. This author found that when these officers go through the contents of the order in the mutation register they are not in a position to decide the difference. This results in that they do not decide the cases on merits.
Many such cases are lingering in the revenue and civil courts for many years but the reason is either the contents of the order in mutation called ‘Tayuini Shamilat’ are not clearly mentioned or the concerned are not in a position to differentiate these two sections. Now, as the land retrieval from Section 4 Shamilat is underway, the authorities in the revenue department must take this kind of situation seriously and before starting the retrieval drive, the land must be demarcated first. This will also benefit the department in preparing the list of ‘Shamilat Deh’ Section 4 and Section 5 separately.
Author is In-charge Record Room DC Office Anantnag